3.6 (5 votes)
DVDylan ID:
Recording type: Mixed
City/Venue: Statenhal, Den Haag, The Netherlands
Date: Saturday, 10th June 1989
"A HW Sound Upgrade"
Never-Ending Tour Concert #80
  1. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
  2. Ballad Of Hollis Brown
  3. Masters Of War
  4. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
  5. Shelter From The Storm
  6. Highway 61 Revisited
  7. Mr. Tambourine Man
  8. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
  9. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
  10. I Don't Believe You
  11. Trail Of The Buffalo 
  12. I Shall Be Released
  13. Like A Rolling Stone
  14. To Ramona
  15. All Along The Watchtower
  16. BONUS: Nashville, TN 02-Dec-78 - Mr. Tambourine Man - Masters Of War - Changing Of The Guards
Number of discs: 2
Video standard: PAL
Authoring: DVDs with menu and chapters are circulating
1st DVD: 56 min Den Haag
2nd DVD: 19 min Den Haag + 12 min Nashville 1978 ProShot

Bit o’ background.
This review is written in december 2007, almost two decades after this June night in Den Haag, The Netherlands, 1989.
History has to be part of the review. Do look back. For before judging this show, one should perhaps sum up what mid/late eighties Bob was like: A schizofrenic, very unpredictable period.
We got two albums from Bob i 1989, having still hardly recovered from the abysmal disappointment of ”Down in the Groove”: The horribly uninspired ”Dylan and the Dead”, one of the very, very few Dylan albums I have not bothered to get on cd, as the only-played-twice vinyl suffices. And then, in the hour of our deepest need, we got the Lanois produced comeback album ”Oh Mercy”.
It’s a question to this day why ”Dignity” was jettisoned from the album (though hardly of any relevance at at all to this review, sorry).
All in all, late eighties Bob is one huge questionmark. Why did he bother? Did he care at all? Where was he taking his music? Or his music taking him? And why did he dress in those crappy attires? (Proof: cover of ”Empire Burlesque”).
The 1989 shows were said to be somewhat erratic; sometimes you got lucky, sometimes you got disappointed. So what did the audience get this early summer night in Den Haag? Well, from the opening act ”Most likely..” it’s pretty hard to tell. There’s a desperate sound to it, so how will this proceed? On to the details:

Tony Garnier (bass)
Christopher Parker (drums)
G E Smith (guitar)

Overall impression/concert

From the beginning, there’s no telling where this show will take you. The intro is confusing, and to put it bluntly, there’s no magic present.
”Most likely..” is upspeed, but with little nerve. ”Hollis Brown” simply lacks depth and confidence and does not benefit from going electric as here, and ”Master of War” proves once again to be a sure way to judge the quality of this night’s Bob: It’s fast, it’s furious, but has a desperate feeling rather than the tremendous power it rightly deserves.
”I’ll be your Baby”, well that sinking feeling is setting in now. Is there hope still?
”Shelter from the Storm”, hmmm it ain’t that bad, but it ain’t that brilliant either. ”Highway 61”, arw, this night it beginning to smell bad.
But, sweet Lord, after all this suffering (or just rather uninspiring performance) on comes Acoustic Bob. Suddenly it comes back to you, what you love about Bob and why you bother, show after show. ”Mr Tambourine Man” sounds so sweet (guess one is easily pleased by now, but anyway – sweet it is). ”Don’t Think Twice”, acoustic again, great.
”Knocking on Heaven’s Door” – and now you’re actually starting to believe him, this is a man coming to grips with fate. When the drums start banging halfway through, you really want to do some serious celebration.
”I don’t believe you”, the band is back now, somewhat more in sync (and harmony) with Bob than before the acoustic set. ”Trail of the Buffalo” simply sounds nice in a relaxed cowboyish way. ”I shall be released” and ”Like a Rolling Stone” are ok, but probably won’t go down in history. ”To Ramona” has intensity and nerve, and the concluding ”All Along The Watchtower” confirms: This is one Bob concert that ended so much happier than could be feared at the beginning.

Camera/pic quality

Rather wobbly, mostly Bob in focus, dark and grainy, but still an ok document of 1989 Bob.

Smooth job, as always. Vocals are right in your face, guitars are crisp and instruments well defined all over. Just the right amount of crowd cheering.

To sum up:
A typical late 80’s Bob concert. Starts out bad, ends well. Watch it once or twice. It probably won’t make it to your desert island list anyway.

Bonus on disc 2: Short Nashville set with a friendly energetic Bob and what looks like Danish based guitarist Billy Cross et al.
A fine little piece of ’78.
Note: Tambourine Man is clipped, the two others full length.

Reviewed by Esdr on 13th December 2007